- The Washington Times - Friday, April 8, 2011


Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has joined scores of other dissidents who have simply disappeared (“Artist silenced in ‘New China,’ ” Web, Thursday).

While British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Germany Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle have called for his immediate release, there is little evidence to suggest that Washington is outraged over the incident. If anything, the insipid response of the Department of State would suggest quite the opposite.

Writing in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed before his detainment by Chinese authorities, Mr. Ai said: “Most discouraging to those of us who are fighting for increased freedom is the tendency for developed nations to lower the bar to please China. They make excuses not to concern themselves with violations of human rights. To espouse universal values and then blind oneself to China’s active hostility to those values is irresponsible and naive.”

It is clear that the current administration in Washington has played down human rights issues. The recent visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to the White House revealed little evidence that the plight of the Chinese dissidents was of any significance in President Obama’s discussions with his Chinese counterpart. In Washington, it is simply ‘business as usual’ without regard to the consequences that have befallen Mr. Ai and his compatriots, whose only “crime” is exercising their rights to free speech.


Denver, Colo.

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